News

US Forest Service temporarily halts transfer of Native American sacred site Oak Flat

March 2, 2021

The United States Forest Service has withdrawn a final environmental impact statement that would allow Arizona land considered sacred by the Apache and other Native Americans to be transferred to a mining company in the next few weeks.

The move temporarily halts the transfer of Chi’chil Biłdagoteel, known widely as Oak Flat, to Australian mining company Resolution Copper, according to...

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Bar and bat mitzvah dates have been locked in for years. When the pandemic changed everything, families got creative.

March 2, 2021

Most mortals have lost track of time as the pandemic spills into year two. But God — assume for the purposes of this article there is one, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-everything — loses track of nothing and nobody, including the generation of Jewish children who, during the time of covid, turned 13.

On that occasion, these children become adults in the eyes of their religious community. Their bar or bat mitzvah day (b’nai mitzvah is the plural) is the culmination of significant preparation; children are typically assigned b’nai mitzvah dates...

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Wisconsin’s original green cemetery

March 2, 2021

More than a decade before the Farley Center was founded — and just 20 miles down the road — Selena Fox built one of the nation’s first natural cemeteries. Fox is the founder and director of Circle Sanctuary, a nature spirituality church nestled on a 200-acre preserve in Barneveld. In 1995, Fox set aside 20 acres for scattering ashes. Fifteen years later, the church completed the local requirements for full-body burials. Fifty-eight people have chosen Circle Cemetery...

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COVID strikes clergy as they comfort pandemic’s sick and dying

March 2, 2021

The Rev. Jose Luis Garayoa survived typhoid fever, malaria, a kidnapping and the Ebola crisis as a missionary in Sierra Leone, only to die of COVID-19 after tending to the people of his Texas church who were sick from the virus and the grieving family members of those who died.

Garayoa, 68, who served at El Paso’s Little Flower Catholic Church, was one of three priests living in the local home of the Roman Catholic Order of the Augustinian Recollects who contracted the disease. Garayoa died two days before Thanksgiving.

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Religious Groups Keep Faith During Pandemic, Remote Academic Year

February 23, 2021

D. Anthony Alvarez ’21, a member of the Harvard Latter-day Saints Student Association, has attended religious services at the same congregation off campus since he arrived at Harvard as a freshman.

This semester, Alvarez said he still attends services at that same congregation. Amid Covid-19, though, he must sign up to attend ahead of time, don a mask, and eschew singing, which can spread infectious particles.

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Group pushes for recognition of minority religions in Fairfax County school calendar

February 23, 2021

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (ABC7) — Dinan Elsyad said it has been difficult balancing life as a Muslim and a Fairfax County student.

“It’s honestly been really hard for me every single year when the holiday rolls around,” said Elsyad who is a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. “I have even gotten into arguments with teachers in the past about whether or not I can get an extension if I leave on that day.”

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End of religious headwear rule says athletes are more than their uniforms

February 23, 2021

(RNS) — When she was not allowed to play in her second volleyball game of the season, 14-year-old Najah Aqeel never thought her pushback would knock down nearly every obstacle in her way, like a bowling ball knocking over pin after pin.

Last September, the ninth-grader at Valor College Prep in Nashville, Tennessee, was pulled from the court after an official pointed out that her coach had not provided a waiver for her to play while wearing her hijab, or religious headscarf. When she was told she couldn’t play, Najah started crying. She received support from her family and...

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Ash Wednesday during a pandemic means sprinkles instead of markings to keep distance

February 17, 2021

At Our Lady of Lourdes in Seaford, the Rev. Steven B. Giuliano will be following the Vatican's request this year.

Unlike every Ash Wednesday that has come before, Giuliano will not be using his finger to make the sign of the cross on the foreheads of his congregation. Instead, he'll follow the advice from his church's leaders and sprinkle them upon their heads.

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Salt Lake County taking COVID vaccines to Black churches, mosques to reach wary minority communities

February 17, 2021

COVID-19 vaccinations have been given in at least one Salt Lake County church and soon may be offered at several other religious sites — especially those serving minority communities.

Calvary Baptist Church, one of Salt Lake City’s oldest and most prominent Black congregations, gave 85 doses Monday and will do more starting March 1, when the age for eligible recipients drops to 65. Officials hope to have enough vaccine supply to offer them twice weekly...

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Muslims in America: A forgotten history

February 12, 2021

In the summer of 1863, newspapers in North Carolina announced the death of “a venerable African”, referred to, in a paternalistic manner, as “Uncle Moreau”.

Omar ibn Said, a Muslim, was born in 1770 in Senegal and by the time of his death, he had been enslaved for 56 years. In 2021, Omar, an opera about his life, will premiere at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina.

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